I was only an elementary student when I first listened to a J-pop song. My playlist was mainly filled with Hamasaki Ayumi’s songs, mainly because my brother really like her and bought some of her album and my most favourite song at that moment was ‘I am…’. I really loved that song and remember asking my sister,
‘How come she can sing like a robot’ oh, my innocent and naive mind and my sister replied, ‘It is her real voice and they altered it to sound like that.’
My mind was blown at that time, amazed at how they can change a human’s voice and I kept it on repeat. I think it was early 2000 but I cannot remember the exact year. Perhaps it was on 2003 since in my memory, I was still living in that village house and hadn’t moved to a new house. Then, we were into ‘Trauma’. We loved her para para performance which I think is still a legendary performance up until now. That performance topped my list and became her best song for me at that moment.
Fast forward to the present times, I am still listening to J-pop and Ayu is in a special spot in my heart. Since then, I have listened to many songs from different artists and idols and I have so many favorites that it’d take years for me to write the review of each of the songs. However, I will write the latest, most listened song that I have every now and then.
As you know, or if you don’t then it’d be an information for you, singles and albums are usually released on Wednesday each week in the Japanese music scene. This means there is a serious competition for the daily ranking of the single/album sales and you can never imagine the amount of singles/albums released in that one day. If you compare it with my country, it is vastly a lot.
Anyway, I listened to some of the songs released on last Wednesday. As I listen to them, I was most attached to this one song by a group I have never listened to before. The group is called あまざらし (amazarashi) which means weather-beaten and the song that caught my heart is the third song in the single, たられば (tarareba) which refers to ‘What ifs’.
It is a song heavy with monologues. As I listened to the song, I couldn’t help but imagine the persona, a guy, laying down on his bed next to his wife, looking at her sleeping face and had a deep thought about life choices he could have made. The way he repeats the action of looking at her sleeping face and the thoughts that he could do better shows that he has decisions he regretted in his whole life. Perhaps he thought that she deserved someone better, that he could improve his current stands for her sake.
He lay down on the bed and have a lot of what-ifs. It started with selfish thoughts like becoming a genius, for his own sake and create a masterpiece which symbolize his desire for fame. Then, he asked ‘what if’ he is a king, exposing his desire for power against the people he dislike. Then, he added that instead of eliminating all the people he dislike and ended up alone in the world, he’d rather kill himself instead. It made me think, perhaps he unconsciously understand that the power itself is useless anyway.
He thought of the life he is intelligent and attend the university. He must have been someone who does not pursue study seriously and never go beyond high school. Now that he is older, he regretted that life and unconsciously wished he was serious with his education earlier.
Then, he talked about being a nice person who helps every troubled person he met. He may not necessarily be a bad person or villain but he may have never behaved like a good civilians either. I couldn’t help but imagine those boys at school with shirts hanging outside of their pants and holding their bag by the shoulder, walking funnily and making rough remarks around others yet. I believe he is a good person in nature based on what comes after that where he stated he had enough of feeling miserable for not helping someone. It is like a man surrounded by his friends saying he hates cats because they are dirty yet when he is alone, he went all soft and cuddle every cat he come across to.
I believe he is often misunderstood because of the way he talks as well seeing he wished he is good at talking and becoming a personality in a late night radio show. It is known that the radio shows at night usually has a corner the listeners can call the DJ and talk about their pitiable life. He wanted to be the person who can console others. That could also means he had nobody who can console him and wished he could be the person for others instead. Perhaps he wished he can heal others so that his own pain can be healed, knowing others had it worse that his.
His monologue and ‘what-ifs’ continue with him wishing he is a musician who can express the difficult emotions human feel into words. He reflected whether such a thought had ever cross his mind before. This precisely shows that he is a man who play with music for both the persona and the singer. Perhaps he wished he had thought of this earlier and make a difference in his listeners life sooner.
By this point, we see that he had gone from self-centered thoughts to self-developing thoughts. He thoughts of the things he can do for others, the things he know he cannot do but wished he could do. All of these are basically about his desire to change others life through things that are still possible for him to do.
However, he continued with a deeper and more personal feelings towards his father, wishing he could heal his sickness by being an excellent doctor, an occupation not everybody can become. He also thought that he’d be a god, an impossible thought, to change the emotions people have, eliminating the negativity as anger and suffering, leaving joy and humor alone.
All these what-ifs he listed, I can feel the regrets he had about the direction of his life. He thought he could have done better if he had been wiser. He asked one last what-if, wishing he could be reborn and redo all the failures and regrets so that he will have none. Then, he asked one important question;
will that still be me?
I think it is a deep question he asked about his life. Will he still be himself if he had no failures and regrets? He must have thought life would feel empty without those failures he experienced throughout his whole life.
I get attached to this song mainly because I asked myself many ‘what-ifs’ myself.
I had thought that I could have studied harder back then. Perhaps I’d be in a different place if I had studied diligently back in school. I could have been able to draw better if I practiced more. Perhaps I could write better if I read more when I was young. Perhaps I can be together with him if I hadn’t treated him that way.
In the end, those decisions I had made in the past had created my present self. It is best for me to lead my present life the best I could so I will not bear more regrets in the future.
Present life is hard for me, wearing an adult badge with a child heart, the pressure of the outside world is getting on me as the days go on.
Let’s not have regrets in the future by doing our best today.